Five-time Grammy winner Michael McDonald went in on Kanye West for his comments on Beck's Best Album win. During an interview on The Dan Le Batard Show the singer-songwriter best known for his work with Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers went as far as criticizing the musical talent of the man who has 21 Grammys.
"I don't think it even really bears too much thought," McDonald said. "It's pretty obvious what Kanye's problem is. When Kanye gets to a point where he can actually put a couple of notes together either vocally or two bars of valid music playing an instrument, then he might have a right to criticize somebody else. Until then I think he's just talking to hear the sound of his own voice."
Has McDonald even heard Yeezus? It's one thing to criticize Kanye's latest comments or public behavior in general, but dismissing his work because he doesn't play an actual instrument is elitist and reductive, reeking of an old man failing to recognize the merits of a new world of music. The pioneers of hip-hop couldn't afford expensive instruments and lessons. As Q-Tip reminded Iggy Azalea in his Twitter hip-hop lesson, all they had were records, turntables, ideas, and ingenuity.
McDonald went on to say he tries not to critique other people's music, even Kanye's, before doing just that once again.
"The whole kinda cut-and-paste thing is a certain kind of artform all by itself. I don't know if I call it songwriting from a musician's standpoint. ... Beck is obviously a consummate musician. He plays instruments, many instruments. He can make his own record without having a fleet of computer operators onboard."
Computer operators, huh? Maybe I'll ask Daft Punk, Mike Dean, Hudson Mohawke, and some of the other Yeezus producers if they can recover the data from my crashed hard drive.
Listen to the entire podcast here.